Yellowstone’ Star Cole Hauser Talks Working Relationship with His Horse: ‘An All-Around Stud’

by Suzanne Halliburton

For Yellowstone star Cole Hauser, riding horses on location reminded him a lot of his childhood.

The actor who plays Rip Wheeler, John Dutton’s enforcer on Yellowstone, said, “horses were a big part of my early years, and doing this show allowed me to ride again.”

He has a horse named Dude to thank. Hauser called him “an all-around stud.” Because any real cowboy knows you’re only as good as the horse you ride.

Hauser said of Dude: “he’ll go through anything for you. I’ve seen him become very trusting of me and vice versa. We ride high-level horses. They can sense how you feel, whether you’re afraid or off your game. Now that Dude and I have gotten together, we’ve become good friends.”

Then Hauser reflected on an on-screen Yellowstone memory. He described it as “bad ass.” Trust us. It was a happy one for Hauser as he bragged on how well Dude did as a stunt horse. But the other guy wasn’t feeling that warm Yellowstone vibe.

“There was a scene early in the show where I was riding Dude, and an officer gets impaled on a fence,” Hauser said. “We had to take off down a hill doing a good amount of running and fast trot. He navigated through it beautifully, taking me there fast, and letting me hop off him. He did a great job of standing by me just perfectly. For a horse that young—that hasn’t been doing stunt work his whole life—I thought he did an amazing job. We both trusted each other in that scene, and it’s a badass one because of that.”

In earlier interviews, Hauser has chatted about his horse riding ability. It almost was like getting on a bike. It comes back to you, but only with some practice (and urging by Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan).

“I would say I was, you know, an average rider at first,” Hauser told HALL wines. “I mean, I had ridden as a child a lot, up in Oregon, where I grew up for a while on a ranch there. And then (he) really got away from it. … But I’ve always been really into horseback riding, and when I got the job, Taylor Sheridan, the creator and writer, and John Linson, who’s the creator as well, they’re big horse guys.”

When you see Hauser riding the Yellowstone ranch as Rip Wheeler, it’s all him. He requested no stunt doubles. He does his own work. Hauser is authentic like that.

“I took a crash course of learning all the different disciplines, whether that roping, cutting, you know, just being able to work a ranch, do anything. Get it on. Get it off. Putting on the saddle, bit, the whole thing, and you know, I’ve been learning throughout the last four years, and I’m still learning. Everything’s about saddle time. It’s just like racing a car or doing anything that takes a lot of thought; it’s just something you’ve got to do all the time. So, when I get up there in Montana, I’m constantly on a horse, so I love it.”

You can thank Dude for helping Hauser come across as such a genuine Rip Wheeler.